Mind & Life
Bob Thurman - Wisdom is Bliss

Bob Thurman - Wisdom is Bliss

June 3, 2022

BobThurman_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with Buddhist scholar and author Robert (Bob) Thurman. Bob is one of the foremost scholars in the world on Tibetan Buddhism, and played a major role in bringing Buddhism to America. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his entry into Buddhism, and befriending the Dalai Lama;
  • links between Buddhism and science (and why Buddhism is 1/6 religion);
  • problems with scientific materialism;
  • enlightenment and emptiness;
  • stories of the Buddha leaving home;
  • four friendly fun facts (noble truths);
  • realistic vs. right approaches on the path;
  • jumping into bliss prematurely;
  • Buddhist ethics;
  • practices to push against essentialism;
  • the key role of compassion in enlightenment;
  • how he thinks about reincarnation and continuation of consciousness;
  • the role of science on the contemplative path;
  • and Bob's parting fun fact.

Full show notes and resources

Lasana Harris - Flexible Social Cognition

Lasana Harris - Flexible Social Cognition

May 20, 2022

LasanaHarris_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with social neuroscientist Lasana Harris about his work on flexible social cognition—the variable ways that we perceive others. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his accidental entry into psychology;
  • what flexible social cognition is;
  • schemas and predictions about others' minds;
  • dehumanization and why we do it;
  • the role of propaganda and implications for the war in Ukraine;
  • how these processes scale up from individuals to societies;
  • bias and prejudice, and the key roles of threat and safety;
  • the inseparability of cognition and emotion;
  • how contemplative practice might help reduce dehumanization;
  • information overload and echo chambers, and what to do about them;
  • and looking at the concept of self to change social bias.

Full show notes and resources

Jessica Morey - Healing Attachment

Jessica Morey - Healing Attachment

May 6, 2022

JessMorey_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with meditation teacher and co-founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), Jessica Morey. Jessica has been working with the contemplative path through the lens of attachment theory, and shares how she blends these approaches for healing. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • her long roots in the contemplative path;
  • meditation retreats for teens through iBme;
  • the basics of attachment theory;
  • contemplative approaches to healing attachment wounds;
  • subtle body and trauma;
  • developing embodied safety;
  • grounding practices with the earth;
  • why it helps to examine your own lineage;
  • benefactor practices and imagining perfect parents;
  • links between Buddhism and attachment theory;
  • and the joys and opportunities of working with teens.

Full show notes and resources

Juan Santoyo - Practice and Peace

Juan Santoyo - Practice and Peace

April 22, 2022

JuanSantoyo_sq2.jpg

In this episode, Wendy speaks with contemplative researcher and social activist Juan Santoyo. Juan's work sits at the intersection of basic neuroscience and community-based programs; his central interest is in understanding the factors that are needed for peace and healing—both in the brain, and in the world. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his path into contemplative research;
  • neurophenomenology;
  • life in Colombia and reflections on the peace process;
  • working with ex-combatants through community engaged research;
  • Indigenous practices to connect with land and ancestors;
  • working with difficult emotions;
  • self-forgiveness;
  • the lack of land and ancestor practices in the West;
  • how oppressive systems impact the sense of self;
  • why contemplation matters for justice and equity work;
  • integrating basic neuroscience with healing in the world;
  • and investigating what is needed for peace.

Full show notes and resources

Al Kaszniak - The Universe of Verbs

Al Kaszniak - The Universe of Verbs

April 8, 2022

Al_Kaszniak_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with psychologist, contemplative researcher, and Zen Buddhist teacher, Al Kaszniak. Al has been in the contemplative science space since the earliest days, and his work has shed light on how meditation impacts our thoughts, emotions, and sense of self. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his parallel interests in Buddhism and neuropsychology;
  • research on meditation, emotion, and attention;
  • how our view of self impacts what seems relevant to us;
  • cognitive effort and emotion regulation;
  • how his own experience of self has shifted through practice;
  • attention and early emotion/affective tone;
  • shifting out of the conceptual mind;
  • the relationship of attention and emotion;
  • how decades of practice have changed his daily life;
  • free will vs. free won't (meditation as inhibition);
  • increasing access to contemplative ideas and practices;
  • mind as process, interaction, and context—and what that means for science;
  • and the value of interdisciplinary dialogue and the "in-between" spaces.

Full show notes and resources

 

Brooke Lavelle - Courage in Community

Brooke Lavelle - Courage in Community

March 25, 2022

BrookeLavelle_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with Buddhist scholar, contemplative teacher, and social activist Brooke Lavelle. Brooke is the co-founder and president of Courage of Care, an organization that seeks to build transformational practice communities rooted in compassion, healing, and counter-oppressive frameworks. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • her trajectory of work from mindfulness to compassion to relational practice to social justice;
  • relationality as the starting point for contemplative growth;
  • Courage of Care, and the CourageRISE framework;
  • routes to understanding oppressive systems;
  • the body as culture;
  • the skills needed to build multicultural community;
  • applications in climate work;
  • the non-dual frame as an antidote to othering;
  • and love as an organizing principle.

Full show notes and resources

 

Jud Brewer - Changing Habits

Jud Brewer - Changing Habits

March 11, 2022

JudBrewer_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with addiction psychiatrist and contemplative researcher Jud Brewer. Jud is one of the leading figures in the use of mindfulness for addiction and anxiety, and his work emphasizes the brain's habit cycle, and how to change it. He's also developed a number of smartphone apps to deliver contemplative interventions widely, which research is finding to be highly successful. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his own use of meditation to relieve stress, and where that led;
  • the failure of willpower for treating addictions;
  • the benefits and downsides of the brain's habit mechanisms;
  • commonalities between Buddhist philosophy and modern psychology;
  • the key role of awareness in changing habits;
  • the basic "habit loop" (trigger - behavior - result);
  • anxiety as a habit;
  • mindfulness for habit change;
  • divisiveness as a bad habit;
  • research on the effectiveness of app-based interventions;
  • next steps for digital therapeutics;
  • insights on communicating science to the public;
  • and the power of kindness and connection as the ultimate reward.

Full show notes and resources

 

Roshi Joan Halifax - Enactive Compassion

Roshi Joan Halifax - Enactive Compassion

February 25, 2022

RoshiJoan2_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with Zen Buddhist teacher and author Roshi Joan Halifax. A pioneer in the field of end-of-life care, Roshi Joan was instrumental in developing the dialogue between science and Buddhism, and has been an advocate for engaged Buddhism, social activism, and compassion in response to today's crises. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • the birth of dialogues between the Dalai Lama and scientists;
  • how our minds are "enactive";
  • compassion as emergent and dependent on context;
  • the trainable factors that set the stage for compassion;
  • the importance of embodiment in health care;
  • non-referential compassion;
  • interdependence, compassion, and climate change;
  • working with dying people;
  • how letting go is safe;
  • clinical use of psychedelics;
  • and reflections on the field of contemplative science.

Full show notes and resources

 

Cliff Saron - Embracing Complexity

Cliff Saron - Embracing Complexity

December 17, 2021

CliffSaron_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with neuroscientist and contemplative researcher Cliff Saron. Cliff is a pioneer in studying the effects of meditation on attention and emotion, and has been deeply embedded in the field of contemplative science since the earliest days. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • his winding path into contemplative research;
  • drilling down and pulling back;
  • conducting research with Tibetan monks in India;
  • how brain signals can predict behavior, and implications for free will;
  • the importance of context in meditation research;
  • effects of intensive meditation on attention, markers of cellular aging, and purpose in life;
  • community-engaged participatory research;
  • communicating the nuance and uncertainty inherent in science;
  • Ubuntu, and living into our interdependence.

Full show notes and resources

Bobbi Patterson - Contemplation, Place, and Resilience

Bobbi Patterson - Contemplation, Place, and Resilience

December 3, 2021

BobbiPatterson_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with professor and Episcopal priest, Bobbi Patterson. Bobbi's work integrates Christian contemplation, Buddhist meditation, contemplative pedagogy, the role of place, and adaptive resilience. This conversation covers many topics, including:

  • contemplative Christian traditions;
  • the power of silence;
  • dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism;
  • a Christian contemplative view of mind;
  • women in the church;
  • how to listen to a place;
  • bringing students into nature and urban settings;
  • the role of the body in contemplation;
  • understanding burnout;
  • and adaptive and land-based resilience.

Full show notes and resources

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